War & Pacifis
Wicca does not dictate matters of conscience as it relates to war. Like vegetarianism, we span the spectrum of taste.
Personally, I am a devout pacifist. I believe that war is never a good option, and it is the last resort of the weak and foolish. Human conflict is always avoidable, but narrow-minded self-interest usually traps individuals and nations on courses of self-destruction. War is a bloody, destructive, useless way to resolve a conflict. The end of active hostility does not equal peace. Waging peace through compromise and compassion is far harder, but more sustainable.
It's hard to be a true pacifist in this current climate. People tend to think I'm the one who doesn't fully understand the situation. They delight in testing my resolve by giving me horrific examples of a "bad person harming my children" as a way to rouse me (with the natural consequence that if I still refuse to play the "what-if" scenario, I must be a bad mother.) And my favorite... "If you don't believe in war, what about Hitler?" (My answer: what about all those years we knew he was killing his own people, and did nothing to stop it... until Japan bombed us and jabbed us right in our "self-interest"?)
I think that causing the unwilling death of another person is wrong. Thou Shalt Not Kill is found in nearly every major religious tradition. It's one of the few moral absolutes that we all agree on. Being an "absolute" means that it's not conditional. Wrong is wrong, and making it sound pretty doesn't make it any less wrong. Personal self-defense is the only situation that would allow it, if your own life were in immediate danger. (Even then, I personally would have a hard time killing, but I would grant another's right to self-defense.)
Saddam Hussein and the government of Iraq is in no way personally endangering anyone in the USA. To take offensive action and attack Iraq in this way is completely unjustifiable, morally reprehensible, and would cause unforgivable death to non-involved civilians. (Because of 12 years of sanctions, Iraq's population is one food shipment short of starvation and disease. Even a brief war would cause an incredible death toll to the civilian population, without ever seeing a single bullet.)
I think President Bush has a whole
hatful of ulterior motives. He's the son
of a politically powerful family with numerous business connections world-wide,
he's got personal friends at the head of many major industries (and let’s not
forget that he's an Oil man, through and through), and he's got a domestic
economy that is falling apart around his ears.
Bush has got nothing to lose, but plenty to gain if he's successful in
getting his war with Iraq. This war,
sadly, has nothing to do with
Then there's the whole political
analysis of the situation. Nearly every
major European nation, except our cousins in the British government, is turning
their back on America. They consider us
to be global bullies who are only interested in controlling global markets to
expand our own considerable dominance of the global economy. This goal of global
Imagine for a moment that America
was the only place that coffee beans grew.
Imagine we had a global corner on the coffee market, and the whole world
is addicted. We control the price and
availability of the beans, and we decide who to sell to and when. Now let's imagine that Italy, lovers of
Latte and Espresso, decide suddenly that they don't like how
Now, wouldn't we all step up and
say, "Wait a second... you're only doing this because you want a share of
Remind me, Mr. Bush... Iraq is a
threat to me how? Saddam Hussein might
be a nasty dictator who treats his own people badly. Fine.
If those people ask, I'd be pleased to help them in whatever ways they
ask so that they may determine their own future. "Sovereignty" means that every
single nation has the right to decide for themselves how they shall be ruled.
The only way Bush can get Americans to support his war effort is to bypass logic, reason, and morality, and appeal directly to emotional gut reactions. If he makes it sound like Hussein is the embodiment of evil, that America will suffer personal, immediate harm, and that we're the saviors of the world, we might go for it. And just in case we're starting to question things a bit too closely, he'll grab hold of 9-11 and yank our emotional chain some more. (By the way, Saddam Hussein and Osama Bin Laden are mortal enemies... they each consider the other to be "infidels" and "enemy of the faith"... they're highly unlikely to be secretly working together. Even our own CIA has told us that there is no connection between Iraq and Al Queda.)
So... we're going to war why?
Wage peace. It's harder than waging war, but the results last longer.
January 27, 2003
Flame RavenHawk is a writer who has been teaching Shamanic Wicca for over a decade. Professionally, she teaches reading in a public High School, and her hobbies include Yoga, Drumming (Middle Eastern Doumbek), Poetry, Gardening, and Cultural Anthropology.